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Saturday, December 31, 2005

To Burn or Not To Burn

From The (Staunton, Va.) News-Leader of Dec. 31, 2005:

Demolish the old courthouse? Some said 'yes,' some said 'no'

By Charles Culbertson/contributor


Almost no one, it seemed, agreed on anything having to do with the Augusta County Courthouse at the corner of South Augusta and Johnson streets.


Two letters to the Staunton Spectator and Vindicator in December 1897 epitomized the arguments of both sides.


South River [...] advocated piling up useless papers, books and other "valueless stuff" and burning them in order to create some room in the courthouse's storage area.


"Shades of Aladdin! What is this useless stuff? The marriage licenses of our ancestors for 150 years, the wills of our ancestors for the same period signed with their own hands and seals. The deeds that they have written and signed ... All the papers which go to show every act, civil or religious, of which any record was required.

"About as well burn the family Bible," [his opponent "Augusta"] noted.

Unable or unwilling to abandon this angle of attack, Augusta wrote that South River would, naturally, want this stuff burned because "possibly he never looked in these files for a paper in his life."


[Read the whole story]

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